In London, I stop at an airport kiosk to buy water for the 10 hour flight to Johannesburg.
Before I left San Francisco, I gathered all my British coins and put them in a ziploc bag. I figured I might as well use them.
As I approach the counter, I think I have counted out the 3 pounds 10 pence necessary for my purchase. The clerk laughs at me and says, “We don’t accept that money anymore!”
This time I really am surprised. “Why not?”
“We haven’t accepted those coins for ages.”
I’m perplexed. How can money just stop being used? True, the coins were from a trip that I took while in high school, almost 25 years ago. But still. We’re still using quarters that old here in the US. I smile, and ask her for help counting out the coins in my ziploc bag. She divides them into coins currently accepted and coins not currently accepted.
I have just enough to pay for the water. As I’m walking away, I see that the queue has expanded exponentially while the clerk was helping me count money. Yes, I’m one of THOSE travelers.